About a year ago I did a status update: "That banana didn't stand a chance once I put peanut butter on it."
One of my friends replied that it sounded like a good start to a story. That idea gave birth to my "first sentence" writing exercise. So here it is, the very first story I wrote, provided by me.
That banana didn't stand a chance once I put peanut butter on it. Unfortunately I had to use creamy instead of crunchy. The crunchy kind breaks up the soft monotonous texture of the banana. Whenever I am deep on a case, this is my snack of choice. Today though, I would need more than a peanut butter banana. I needed an answer, and I needed it fast. Who was this Mr. Schultz? and Why did he steal that candlestick?
My client Mr. Hornsberry has been calling day and night. I'm running out of excuses. Ever since he first called me he had been on my case like I was on his. I was working on it, I just hadn't made much progess. The thief had left a note, but figured it was just a red herring. Something to throw me off his scent. With a note like "this is Mr. Schultz, I have your candlestick", there was no way I could build a case on that.
I went through my usual line of questions with the victim. Did he know anyone who would wish him ill will? Had he angered anyone recently? Had he forgotten to pay a bill? Did he know anyone by the name of Schultz? Of course, all his answers turned up nothing. Everyone knew him. He was a great guy, with great deals…. and great sausages. His chops were pretty excellent too. His neighbors all concurred that he was a likable guy and they couldn't imagine anyone wanting to hurt him or steal from him. This guy was the Mother Theresa of delicatessen owners. I was going to have to dig deeper.
That night as I was digging through his trash I noticed an envelope addressed to him with no return address. There was a stamp on it that read "URGENT! ACT NOW! YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY WON!" I opened the letter. Indeed, if he acted soon he could be the winner of one million dollars. One million dollars looks a lot like motive to me.
The next morning I went to the dry cleaners to pick up my coat. I noticed on the bulletin board there were some ads. A dog walker, a yoga class, a theatre troupe performing "Hamlet" starring Keanu Reeves. That reminded me, I still had to buy my ticket. An antique refurbisher, a mobile dog washing company- they didn't leave an address. Then there, in the bottom left hand corner "Mike Hunt, P.I." I've always gone by the name Mike. Michael is just too long. My card wasn't the biggest ad or the brightest, but I saw that some of my number tags had been taken. It's nice to have job security.
As I stepped outside it began to rain. Well at least I had my coat. I didn't bother taking the dry cleaner's plastic off. I walked the empty, wet streets alone with with my thoughts. Who steals a deli owners candlestick? Who would want a candlestick? Unless….. UNLESS. I made a run for local electric company. I had questions for them. I would need a list of everyone who didn't have power. The man with no power is a man with no light. A man with no light is a man in need of a candlestick. Unfortunately though, I would soon find out that a man with no power is actually 30 men with no power. None by the name of Schultz. Well I was back to square one.
2 days later I got a phone call from Mr. Hornsberry. He sounded upset. He asked me to rush over to his house. When I got there he said there was a mysterious charge on his credit card. I looked at the bill "SF REFRB……. $18.00" He didn't know where the charge had come from. He hadn't used his card in days. There was no phone number on the statement. This was going to take a while. I started with the phone book. I started at the A's. One week later I got to the S's. I found something: "Schultz mobile dog grooming" interesting. I decided to give them a call.
That afternoon I gave Mr. Hornsberry a call.
"Mr. Hornsberry- I solved the case"
I should have recognized it when i first saw it. It was right there under my nose. The ad at the dry cleaners. Antique refurbishing. It wasn't 2 ads. It was ONE ad. Antique refurbishing AND mobile dog grooming. The late Mrs. Hornsberry had sent his family heirloom, the candlestick, to the cleaners. The dog cleaners, that were also antique refurbishers. The candlestick would be ready in 4 days. No need to pick up- they delivered.